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Choctaw Ballerina, a beloved woman, and Oklahoma treasure

November 16, 2008

Rosella HightowerThis past week was a time of transitions. Choctaw ballerina Rosella Hightower, born in Durwood, who founded a major ballet school in France, died at age 88 on November 7 at her home in Cannes.

Hightower was one of five American Indian ballerinas from Oklahoma who received special honors from the state of Oklahoma. [The most famous is Maria Tallchief, who worked with George Balanchine on such masterpieces as “Firebird.”]

In 1997, the fabulous five were reunited and proclaimed as official Oklahoma treasures. The others were Osage Tallchief; her sister, Marjorie Tallchief; Moscelyne Larkin; and Yvonne Chouteau. Yakoke Rosella for your beautiful spirit.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 23, 2008 9:01 am

    I can’t say I am an expert in ballet nor dance. But for me the idea that Oklahoma Indians made an impact in such a high-minded, white art form has always been a source of strength. Especially, considering that it was done before the civil rights era. I also love when Indians do well in non-Indian arenas doing non-Indian things. We are a diverse people with many interest and capabilities beyond the stereotypes (including the self-imposed ones). These Indian women mean a lot to me.

  2. LeAnne Howe permalink
    November 24, 2008 8:03 pm

    Ms. Hightower meant a lot to me, too! Let’s hope another Choctaw ballerina is out there in the wings. Ready to take center stage.

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